Monday, October 03, 2011

History of Federalism

The litigation over Insite, the Vancouver safe drug injection site that operated under license from the BC Ministry of Health and that the federal government wished to deny its exemption from criminal prosecution, seemed like an old-fashioned federalism struggle.  Which took precedence, the privincial power over health and hospitals, or the federal power over criminal prosecution?

Wel, the Supreme Court said Insite can stay open despite the feds' urgent desire to shut it down.  That looks like a victory for provincial rights, no?  Paul Wells argues no, no really.  He argues the ruling does allow Insite to survive on the specific facts of its situation, but does not establish a freedom for any province to establish any safe drug injection site whenever it wishes and regardless of federal opposition. And he cannot resist linking to the journalists and commentators he thinks are dead wrong on this point.
Follow @CmedMoore